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Cars Land – The Magic Is In The Details

Ornament Valley, the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Walt Disney Imagineering is always pushing the corporate fiscal team to give enough budget to add that last layer of details that completes the theme park experience. The original DCA is the perfect example of what happens when the budget isn’t there. Ever since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Orlando and wowed everyone with the detail in the land, those controlling the purse strings have been more willing to let Imagineers do what they do best.

 the town of Radiator Springs at night

Out east we’ve been focused on New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom as the first project to get the full treatment, but in the west, Cars Land is in soft openings and the verdict is that Imagineering has re-staked their claim on the top of the hill.


The magic, as they say, is in the details. Disney has just released a series of beautiful photos showing those details and a list of figures that show how in-depth the detail in the land actually is. It’s a big update, there are 20 photos, each of them is available to view larger if you click on it:

Mater & Lightning McQueen photo shoot Cars Land

It’s like stepping right into the “Cars” movie! Route 66 leads guests at Disney California Adventure Park into Cars Land, a fully detailed, immersive re-creation of Radiator Springs, the setting for the hit Disney●Pixar animated film “Cars.” Guests will be awed by the panoramic vistas of Ornament Valley, experience the thrills of three new attractions and even get to interact with some of their favorite fuel-driven friends.

Cozy Cone Motel

Get your kicks in Radiator Springs

  • The re-creation of Radiator Springs captures the authentic feel of Route 66 with three-dimensional versions of familiar landmarks from the film, including Cadillac Mountain Range in Ornament Valley, Luigi’s Casa Della Tires and Flo’s V8 Café.
  • Only in Radiator Springs do guests learn dance moves like the Overdrive, the Reverse and the Hairpin Turn, all part of the fun at “DJ’s Dance and Drive,” one element of the Route 66 entertainment. DJ spins auto favorites such as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Car Wash.”
  • When night falls in Radiator Springs, 16 neon signs in bright, luminous colors light the way along Route 66.
  • Signs help tell the story in Radiator Springs, adding humor and life to the town’s four-wheeled residents.
  • The “car-acters” of Cars Land welcome guests at three new attractions: Radiator Springs Racers, Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Luigi’s Flying Tires.
  • The historic Route 66 runs 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Route 66 in Cars Land is approximately 525 feet long and 23 feet wide, rich with inspiration from the actual American highway.
  • Cars Land also treats guests to food and merchandise locations inspired by the Radiator Springs landmarks in the film: Flo’s V8 Café, Fillmore’s Taste-In, Cozy Cone Motel, Radiator Springs Curios, Sarge’s Surplus Hut and Ramone’s House of Body Art.
  • The fun of the “Cars” theme extends even to the menus of the Radiator Springs roadside restaurants. Flo’s V8 Café serves old-fashioned, breakfast dishes and home-style rotisserie classics for lunch and dinner, including such specialties as a breakfast chicken tamale with scrambled eggs, entrees such as the Veggie-Tater Bake and house-made Pie-O-Rama pies including strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry-peach and apple-cheddar. At Cozy Cone Motel, each food item is a different “cone-coction,” such as “Pop-cone” and “Chile Cone Queso.”

Revving through Cars Land and Ornament Valley

  • Cars Land construction began in July 2009.
  • The impressive Cadillac Mountain Range in Ornament Valley stands approximately 125 feet tall at its highest peak, the Pinnacle.
  • The peaks of the mountain range, from left to right, represent Cadillac tail fins from 1957, 1958, 1959 (the Pinnacle), 1960, 1961 and 1962.
  • At nearly 300,000 square feet, the mountain range is the largest rockwork construction in any domestic Disney theme park.
  • More than 4,000 tons of steel were used to erect the mountain range and Radiator Springs Racers attraction.
  • The team of Walt Disney Imagineers devoted more than 28,000 hours to designing the structural system for the rockwork and Radiator Springs Racers show building.

The Attractions of Cars Land

Radiator Springs Racers: A leisurely, scenic tour of Ornament Valley turns into an all-out race for the Piston Cup as guests race side-by-side through the mountain range, around Willy’s Butte and past the plunging waterfall, Radiator Falls – all familiar sights to fans of the movie.

  • The ride vehicles come in eight colors, each with its own personality.
  • Each six-passenger convertible features a male or female face, with different details in the eyes and lips. The gender of a car is determined by color.
  • Guests board cars for a scenic road trip, meandering through the countryside and the town of Radiator Springs. After a stop at Luigi’s Casa Della Tires or Ramone’s House of Body Art, guests and their cars get some final racing tips from Doc Hudson.
  • When the race begins, racers split onto parallel tracks, zooming nose-to-nose through the desert landscape. Part of the thrills: Guests will never know who is going to win.
  • New to Radiator Springs is Taillight Caverns, which Disney Imagineers conceived as a stunning finish to the dramatic race.
  • The attraction covers nearly six acres – the largest attraction by acreage at the Disneyland Resort.
  • The “Cars” movie composer, Jonathan Sacks, composed the attraction score.
  • Each vehicle will travel approximately 36,000 miles per year.
  • This is a Disney FASTPASS attraction.
  • Minimum height requirement:  40 inches

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree: Everyone’s favorite tow truck, Mater, has corralled a herd of runaway baby tractors in his junkyard. Guests are invited to an old-fashioned “tow-si-do” in Mater’s salvage yard as they ride trailers hitched to the baby tractors.

  • Larry the Cable Guy (the voice of Mater from “Cars”) recorded seven original songs for the attraction, backed by favorite Disneyland park performers Billy Hill & the Hillbillies.
  • Mater’s songs are played on his own special jukebox, made of rusty oil drums, hubcaps, car hoods, horns, mufflers and other auto parts he has collected along the road.
  • None of the 22 tractors in Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are the same. Like the individual cows in a herd, the tractors all have different markings, mouths and eye colors. They have one thing in common: They all love to dance.
  • The baby tractors are new characters inspired by the movie and created especially for Cars Land.
  • License plates on the baby tractors have letters that represent initials and birthdays of key contributors to the Cars Land project from Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Minimum height requirement:  32 inches

Luigi’s Flying Tires: At Luigi’s Casa Della Tires, “Cars” characters Luigi and Guido play host to a “Festival of the Flying Tires.” When the music starts, tires float and dance in the grand tradition of a celebration that first started in Luigi’s hometown of Carsoli, Italy.

  • Guests board vehicles that look like oversized Fettuccini-brand tires, accommodating up to two adults and one child, or one adult and two children.
  • Luigi gives a countdown “Uno for the money, due for the show, tre to get ready and quattro to go!” and drops the flag for the “Festival of the Flying Tires.”
  • Gliding along, guests shift their body weight to guide the direction of the vehicle, bumping into other tires as they float across Luigi’s 8,000-square-foot Italian garden and tire storage yard.
  • Guests may work as a team to guide their tire and, for extra fun, try to catch one of the inflatable balls scattered throughout the attraction.
  • It takes 6,714 air vents to keep the tires floating ever so slightly above the ground – approximately two inches.
  • The voice of award-winning actor Tony Shalhoub, who voiced Luigi in the movie, is heard throughout the attraction.
  • Nostalgic Disneyland fans will recognize the attraction as a descendant of the Flying Saucers attraction, which operated in Tomorrowland from 1961 to 1966.
  • Minimum height requirement:  32 inches

Meet the Residents of Radiator Springs

  • Lightning McQueen and Mater, residents of Radiator Springs and best friends always, settle in at the Cozy Cone Motel to meet guests and pose for photos. Other “car-acters” are featured in the shops, restaurants and attractions.
  • Red the Fire Truck enlists young guests to help him water the flowers and clean up the town of Radiator Springs. Red makes sure that everything – and everybody – gets wet in some fun, interactive water play.
  • DJ’s Dance Party, as seen in “Cars,” features DJ the rolling boom box with a mischievous personality and built-in CD changer.  He and his team of dancers coast down the boulevard, creating a rollicking dance party wherever they go.

Cozy Cone Motel Neon Sign





Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Ornament Valley is the setting for Radiator Springs Racers

Later today I’ll have part two, which includes a look at the inside of the show building. Is full of live-size Cars animatronics. Annual Passholders got access yesterday and the verdict is that Disney has, with only a few small exceptions, really met the goal of a totally immersive experience.

6 thoughts on “Cars Land – The Magic Is In The Details”

    1. The Cars franchise has made a lot of money since 2006. It would make sense that Disney would go for a Cars Land.

      1. Every Pixar movie has made a lot of money…..and if Pixar chooses to make additional sequels on any movie, they too will make a lot money. Big Deal. Cars is boring. When I think of the most memorable Disney magic, the Cars franchise probably comes close to last.
        …not trying to offend, just saying my opinion.

  1. With all the DCA redo’s, do you think it will be enough? I’m still waiting for another flagship ride. They need to think big and revolutionary and put it towards a single ride…something along the status of Space Mountain/Splash Mountain/Matterhorn. A mountainous adventure that can’t be skipped when you enter DCA. Cars Land and Little Mermaid are good, so is World of Color, but is it all truly enough?

  2. I agree, LoveDisney. I think what the park misses more than anything is half a dozen “2nd tier” or D-ticket rides, all the classics like Pirates, Mansion, Tiki Room, Autopia, Small World, Peter Pan, Dumbo, Storybook Land. Only Soaring over California and Muppet-Vision come to mind in DCA.

  3. I completely disagree. Cars Land was an awesome choice, for many reasons.

    1. DCA wasn’t initially successful because it was missing that ‘Disney’ feeling. Except for rides like Soaring over California or attractions like the Aladdin musical, what better way to bring the Disney magic than with actual Disney characters!

    2. While I agree that rides like Pirates, Autopia, Haunted Mansion, etc are classics and should never be removed, in reality they are pretty lame by today’s standards (technology, etc). They are classics because they were part of OUR childhood, but today’s youth expects much more. For example, go-karts are pretty popular and easily accessible, but when those same go-karters see autopia, it’s nothing more than a another fair ride. Even things like Captain EO, i STILL love that movie, but the 3D and acting so cheesy compared to today’s standards. Kids watch epic movies in 3D on a daily basis these days, so they can’t appreciate MJ’s sweet dance moves and Furby buddy.

    3. Today’s youth relates more to today’s cartoons/Disney characters. While the staple characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, The Princesses) will never go out of style, you can’t blame Disney for going with the most current and popular (and future classics) characters to build their theme park. Basically this park revolves around what kids like these days (which happens to be all Pixar characters). A

    ANNNDDD Lightning McQueen was traveling to California during the movie, so it does fit in perfectly with the California theme of the park!

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